Greg Lake, a member of both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died on Wednesday, aged 69, after what his manager Stewart Young referred to as “a long and stubborn battle with cancer.”
One of the founding fathers of prog rock, the British musician is known for such songs as ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ and later his huge solo hit ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’.
Lake’s band-mate Keith Emerson died nine months ago of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to coroners in the US.
Rick Wakeman, keyboardist in Yes, posted: “Another sad loss with the passing of Greg Lake. You left some great music with us my friend & so like Keith, you will live on.”
Lake was born in Bournemouth and given his first guitar at the age of 12. After becoming friends with fellow student Robert Fripp, they created King Crimson in 1969.
After founding member Mike Giles quit, Lake no longer wanted to work with the band, though he did sing on their second album, In the Wake of Poseidon.
Lake, who was both singer and a bassist, was asked by Keith Emerson to form a new band with him and Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer. ELP’s live debut was at the Guildhall in Plymouth in 1970 and they also performed that same year at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The group had hit albums with Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy, Brain Salad Surgery and Tarkus. The band enjoyed chart success in 1977 with a version of Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man.’
Kanye West drew attention to the the King Crimson song ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ in 2010 on the song, ‘Power.’